What if, before your spirit was clothed in flesh in the womb of your mother, you knew another ‘place’, a place you would eventually recall with gratitude and love; a home very different to Planet Earth? A place you vaguely remember as being full of light, joy and peace.
The story goes like this. The king of this wonderful ‘place’ of course is God. Although you are tiny at the moment there in the warm confines of your mother’s womb, you are pretty ancient. Not nearly as old as God obviously as he has always been, and he created you only a few thousand millenniums ago. But all the time, up until now, you have lived a blissfully happy life and if God hadn’t given you a glimpse of the earthlings, you would have thought this was common to all beings. Even encased as you are and protected by your mother’s body it sounds as if earth is truly an awfully hectic and mad planet.
Some time back when you were sitting innocently enjoying the beauty and comfort of God and home, he quietly asked you if you would like to do something daring but very worthwhile and for everyone’s happiness. Of course you said yes. But God said he wanted you to understand a little more about the job and spend a while thinking about it so you would not later feel you had been hoodwinked into accepting the job. “That’s not necessary God, but I know you know best. What do you want me to think about?”
So God explained and opened a window so you could see down to Planet Earth and all the goings on down there. Well it was a mess – beautiful but a total shambles. The people were also beautiful but they were crunched up, scowling, cursing and all bumping and knocking each other over in a scurry to get heaven knows where. God explained that he wanted you to become the child of a certain family, typical of those you’d just seen, and that your visit down there would involve quite a lot of discomfort, with good things and bad things happening to you – all of which he explained to you in detail. You were horrified! Who in their right mind would ever want to leave the place of beauty and peace you were presently enjoying and always had, for such a horrific place and live the kind of life God was telling you about even for just a short time of 80 years or so! No thanks God. You take back your yes. It is now definitely no. God said he was in no hurry should you change your mind.
You then began to notice beings returning from Planet Earth for a while and then enthusiastically going back to earth. Though they did seem to be constantly busy you noticed as well that they had a quality about their love and service of God that was different to those of you that had not been to that dreadful place. They seemed to be so much more exuberant and all fired up with God and his plans of goodness and love! You and other heavenly beings seemed half-alive in comparison! All the Returnees spoke of how invaluable their journey on earth was and spoke of how grateful they were that God had given them the opportunity to discover a deeper level of loving and of living!
Eventually you told God that you would go but that he must first promise to protect you and especially from forgetting him and your true home. Furthermore, he should always remind you that it is just a short stay to enable you to grow and mature as the Returnees had. But God said that would not make the journey your very own. You needed to understand far greater things than the comfort of knowing or remembering your origins. You needed to learn how to live down on earth with dignity, hope and love when the going was tough, you needed to be able to get up and try again every time something went wrong. He said you would be on a journey something like the journey of the prodigal son who left his father’s wonderful loving home and journeyed away to what he thought would be a life of freedom, with lots of money to enjoy from his inheritance and that he would be free to do exactly as he pleased. Fun, fun and more fun! But it didn’t turn out to be fun for the prodigal son, rather it was heartbreak and tears, shattered dreams and shattered lives strewn all around him. When eventually he came to his senses and realized that even his father’s hired hands were better off than he was, it was as if a switch went on in his head and he saw clearly the havoc in his life and decided there and then to return home and beg his father to forgive him for being so stupid. And of course we know the end of the story: the father ran to meet his wayward son, embraced him and welcomed him home with a glorious home-coming party – and without any recriminations.
Eventually you knew you had to go or miss out on one of the greatest opportunities and gifts in your life. It was extremely hard to leave your haven, but even harder once you got to Planet Earth. It was a wonderful place in so many, many ways with a family of wonderful people and lots of friends. Beauty was everywhere but as time went on it all became tarnished it seemed, with each day a little further from God and your real home. The downside was that it was so easy to forget the values of God and to get hooked into so many senseless activities, many harmful to yourself and others. You certainly forgot all about your origins and your father. If anything God became an afterthought when the going was tough and small memories of your real home were so fleeting, that they seemed unreal. Things you had agreed to with God that you would allow to become instruments in helping you to become fully alive to God, his love and his goodness, you began to resent and cuss and curse about. Your life had less appeal and happiness than a pig in a dirty pigsty with no food or water, with no hope in sight of anything better. Then one day – one glorious day the penny dropped and you began to understand the value of all that you had been through and realized that working with God these could become the very things that would help you to grow and mature. You did an about turn and started once again to connect with God and slow but surely you began to taste again the goodness of God, which had in fact never been apart from you, only you’d lost your sensitivity, your awareness and subsequently the joy of and desire for his presence.
In time you were reunited with your father and your original home which had now extended in fact to include Planet Earth which was bit by bit becoming like God’s kingdom in heaven. You were different though. Your love and appreciation for God and his love and his kingdom were so greatly amplified you wondered how you could ever have thought that what you experienced before Planet Earth was love!
If this imagining were true, would we be able to respond to the experiences of our lives with greater understanding and fortitude? I like to believe God took me into his confidence and gave me a pat on the back and said:
“Off you go my cherub, enjoy every moment of your trip and try to remember I love you every moment without interruption. I will keep reminding you, until you need no more reminding because it will be your unbroken experience.”